back to article Firefox 4 beta gets Sync and Tab Candy Tab Panorama

Mozilla has released a fourth Firefox 4 beta, adding in its seasoned bookmark-syncing service, Firefox Sync, and its new tab-sorting interface, originally dubbed Tab Candy and now known as Tab Panorama. "This release lets you own and control your personal Web experience by syncing your data across devices, and by helping you …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    or I dunno...

    open another browser window perhaps? This is just plain stupid why is the browser acting like a window manager? Using your browser more than your OS? Does this guy know what an OS is/does?

    1. Tom Maddox Silver badge


      This just in, some people use technology in a different fashion than you. I realize that means they're inferior human beings probably deserving of being made into Soylent Green, but it is true, nonetheless.

    2. Jim 59


      Tabs aren't that great. They make your brain do more work than separate windows. I do use tabs though.

    3. LawLessLessLaw

      and they nest infinitely deep do they ?

      No thought not

    4. Dan 55 Silver badge

      It's not bad

      Been using it all morning. Was a bit doubtful but if you have multiple windows open you have to hunt around the toolbar for the right window button however if you go to the tab screen you know exactly where things are.

  2. Bryce Prewitt

    Is opening a new window too hard?

    We've been given this most absolutely fabulous of devices known as a brain which is empowered with the most amazing ability to sort, organize and multitask

    Now, with that in mind, Firefox has, since its beginning, allowed multiple instances to be run at once. I know, I know, I'm committing heresy by insinuating that perhaps we should - shock! gasp! - use our operating system as intended, but perhaps we could put just a tad bit of our superior intellect to work and... organize windows based on intended tab subject. For instance, I'm looking at The Register, an article reminds me that I want to research SLRs, I open a new window and then a tab to Wikipedia, then a new tab to Google to search for DSLRs, then tab out whatever shopping links or reviews from them.

    Again, heresy! Of course, it could be said that Firefox could be dedicating its UI designers to a vastly more useful purpose, like unfucking just about everything they've been doing since Firefox 3, but I'm deathly afraid of what they'd do to actual code written by real programmers... if Firefox could be said to have any of those anymore.

    Please don't mistake me for an Opera fanboy - those guys really get on my tits - but Firefox has been suffering from a self-inflicted syndrome, that of being a keystone predator. It hasn't had any natural enemies until Microsoft stepped up IE in the last year, and they've gotten lazy. They're well funded by Google and can shove out all the shitty, bloated code they want because there was no alternative (yeah yeah, sod off fanboys, nobody cares).

    The lack of tabs was a legitimate problem, as was that of plugins running within the same process as the browser. Misuse of tabs isn't the fault of the operating system or browser, it's one of the few true instances of PEBKAC.

    1. Shakje


      I have a double-sized taskbar with 3 instances of notepad, 10 explorer windows, VSS, 2 spreadsheets, 3 Word docs, a few emails, a couple of emulators, some command prompts, the SCM, Winamp and 3 instances of VS2005 running, and Firefox. In these circumstances I have no easy way of managing lots of windows (and yes I do need all of them open right now). Tabs are good in these circumstances, and considerably better than Windows just seeing "10 Firefox" in my taskbar, don't you think?

      For clarity, I currently have 4 MSDN pages open, ASCIITable, a couple of small articles on specialised subjects, Xkcd, TheDailyWTF (it is lunch after all) and El Reg.

      I understand what you're saying about using windowed instances to manage tabgroups but at the end of the day, the one time I really don't want to have to spend time messing around with different windows is my lunch break. And for me this is not necessarily something that I would be dying to see in a new version, but it IS something that might make my life easier.

    2. CD001

      You realise...

      You realise of course, you CAN customise your browser settings so that it opens new windows, new tabs or even just keeps using the same window?

      Personally I tend towards tabs because the OS doesn't do mouse gestures... would be good if it did, but it doesn't.

    3. The Indomitable Gall

      You might say....

      You might say that using a small bookshelf containing multiple ring binders, each divided into multiple themed sections by pieces of coloured card, with multiple poly-pockets in each section, each containing a number of individual pieces of paper is overkill when you can just leave the pieces of paper in a messy heap on your desk.

      I would have to say that I normally do the later, but I'll admit that when other people do the former, they generally find the bit of paper they're looking for a lot quicker than I do.

      The OS is designed to do certain general functions. Tab grouping and ordering is application-specific. The OS does not do this. It is not the OS's job.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Mozilla has released a fourth Firefox 4 beta....

    ", adding in its seasoned bookmark-syncing service, Firefox Sync"

    Which it's a inferior version of Opera-Link, which not only does bookmarks, but Notes, Speedials, Layouts, ContentBlock filters, Typed History (AwesomeBar in Mozilla speak), Search Engines and much more...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Since Oct. 2007

      It could also be pointed out that Opera introduced their Link capability almost 3 yrs ago now, in v9.50 beta1.

      Nice to see Chrome & FF having pity on the 70+% of their users that don't know what extensions are..and adding this default sync functionality for them. (Maybe in a couple more years, sync will work with their mobile browser as Opera Link does now, with Opera Mini/Mobile, also. ;)

      As others have said here earlier. just because Opera only has 130+ million users, doesn't mean it's not a great browser on the desktop and iPhone, Blackberry, Android, WinMo, Symbian.

      Worth trying Opera v10.6x release or v10.70 snapshots, if you haven't since back when you were a teenager. ;)

    2. Alastair 7

      How about we save time for everyone

      And just assume that anything any browser does isn't as good as the implementation in Opera? That way you won't have to keep posting comments like these, and we won't have to read them.

    3. Not That Andrew

      Link is great - when it works

      In my experience, confirmed by Opera developers, by the way, Opera Link has an unfortunate habit of refusing to update the remote bookmarks, reverts your local bookmarks to outdated ones, demolishes the structure of your bookmarks folder and arbitrarily deletes and duplicates bookmarks. Unfortunately it doesn't seem to be a priority bug for Opera, for some bizarre reason.

      1. Tom Maddox Silver badge

        B-b-but . . . Opera!

        Opera is perfect in every way! It's better than perfect! It's amazing! It does everything you could possibly want it to do, even if you haven't thought of it yet! If it "arbitrarily" deletes your bookmarks, that's just because the Opera developers have implemented the "delete useless bookmarks" feature which automagically purges your preferences of all the stuff you don't need. Your problem is that you didn't realize you didn't need it. And aren't you happier now that you've been released from the excess baggage of your past?

        Opera is the best!

        1. Shakje

          Fixed it for you

          Tom Maddox is perfect in every way! It's better than perfect! It's amazing! It does everything you could possibly want it to do, even if you haven't thought of it yet! If it "arbitrarily" deletes your smiles, that's just because the Tom Maddox developers have implemented the "fail at sarcasm" feature which automagically purges your mind of all funny. Your problem is that you didn't realize you didn't need it. And aren't you happier now that you've been released from the excess baggage of humour?

          Tom Maddox is the best!

      2. Anonymous Coward

        No Problems here.

        I have 4 desktops sync'd and 2 mobiles, and everything works just fine.

        Perhaps you have one system that's syncing crap to everything else. I picked up a bug on one of their snapshot test releases, and it started duplicating stuff. But then I did choose to live on the bleeding edge, and quickly sorted it out.

        Sounds like you need to export your bookmarks, clean then up, then purge bookmarks from all your Opera installs AND the OperaLink website, then import the bookmarks again and let them replicate.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    Of anything that "lets you own your experience". It's bullshit.

    In fact, the only thing that lets you "own" something is a receipt.

  5. DrXym Silver badge

    Looks like too much work

    Tab candy looks really neat and really superfluous. If I want to group tabs I can open a new window. Simple to understand, simple to do. Is it really likely that anyone wants to organize tabs into little groups and share them around with people?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Re: Looks like too much work

      "Is it really likely that anyone wants to organize tabs into little groups and share them around with people?"

      First person I mentioned it to could think of several real world situations in which he and his colleagues could make genuine productive use of this. He got quite excited about it too.

      Not having a go, just saying.


    2. DrXym Silver badge

      Still don't see any reason for it

      As implemented I cannot think of any reason it would be useful to anyone. Perhaps if it were more integrated it might be useful (e.g. collapse a bunch of tabs into a single tab of thumbnails so groups of tabs could be flitted between).

      But expecting people to arrange them on a desktop accessed from a button is not going to fly. Especially since actions are transient and don't survive an app restart.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What a wonderful solution

    for a problem that shouldn't exist in the first place

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Police excited on password collection

    I'll bet the police are excited about easily being able to gain access to all your account names and passwords for whatever reason they feel it is needed. This will definitely be one option I won't use since you'll be providing a remotely hackable location for all you private information. Talk about putting all your eggs in one basket. This will be at the top of the list of sites that hackers will attempt to take over. It's one thing to have personal information on a person but even better to have their login information for their accounts.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Not if you set up your own sync server

      Search for 'minimal weave server'.

      And if you use Mozilla's server it's encrypted and decrypted by Firefox, Mozilla doesn't have the key to decrypt your profile on their server.

  8. JaitcH
    Thumb Down

    Gow do I revert to Beta 3

    Beta 4 seems to be missing quite a few things such as Options, History, View - all the little essentials we've grown used to.

    Luckily I have Opera, Chrome and a special minimalist browser in my computer. I'm fed up with 4 - at least Beta 3 let us have all the essential controls.

    1. Fuzzysteve

      The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

      All there for me. Just have to hit alt to bring up the regular menus.

      Or, for most of what you've said, hit the big orange button in the top left. Might be a dodgy skin/persona?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward



  10. snafflehog

    I think it's a great idea..

    I don't understand why people are so upset about this. It seems like a fantastic idea.

    Imagine having a work set of tabs, a home set of tabs and then sets for everything else as shown, shopping for example, or news articles that you havn't got round to reading yet.

    For all those of you that say why not open two instances of the browser, what happens when you close them both? What set of tabs does it keep? Why have two instances using up (already copious amounts) of memory when you can solidify it into one neat tidy package. Which you can then sync to your laptop in a matter of seconds, when you want to go into the living room to watch a bit of tv and do some relaxed browsing.

  11. Version 1.0 Silver badge


    I can understand FireFox selling its soul ... but for tabs?

    This seems like a GUI in search of a solution but I'll reserve judgment until it becomes official. With so many apps these days collecting "usage" information - it would be interesting to know how many features get added to browsers that don't get used...

  12. Adam Nealis

    Open All in Tabs

    Isn't "Open All in Tabs" the same thing? And that can be combined with <CTRL+B> and a search.

    "Open All in Tabs in a New Window" would be cool. No doubt there's an extension for that somewhere.

    1. AlexV

      Open All in Tabs in new window

      Hold down Shift when clicking the "Open All in Tabs" command, no need for an extension. Standard keyboard modifiers for Firefox are: Hold down Ctrl when clicking on a command to open it in a new tab, hold down Shift for a new window, Ctrl+Shift together means new foreground tab.

  13. FlameButt

    What's left?

    So... If I'm not fussed about syncing my bookmarks across multiple devices and am quite capable of organising my tabs how I like - what does Firefox 4 actually give me over 3?

    1. Mike Flugennock

      re: What's left?

      Hell, I'm still trying to figure out what FF3.x gives me over FF2. FF3 has needlessly complicated and generally fucked up the process of syncing bookmarks between my desktop and my laptop. Used to be I could just drag over my bookmarks.html file and confirm the "replace existing" prompt, but, nooo-oooo, not any more.

  14. Nigel 9

    Need a title here....

    Someone want to tell what exactly is the point of Firefox any more?

    You want pure speed (which used to be FIrefox's domain) - You install Chrome.

    You want features and standards - You install Opera

    You want to be lazy and things to work without caring about anything - You carry on using IE :(

    I have *two* websites that don't work in Opera (and both are because the web dev was too bloody lazy to include it in the list of identified browsers, since the "identify as IE" option magically makes things better).... Im no fanboi (leave it on all day and watch the RAM usage riiiiiiiise.....) but its a good browser that handles 12+ tabs stabily with alarming regularity on an old P4 2.8GHz.

    I admit (with FF) the Ebay toolbar is handy and I suppose "personas" are kinda nice in a home User way. But the browser often just "freezes" for a few seconds before letting me carry on and the bloat is increasing with every release.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Actually no...

      "You want pure speed (which used to be FIrefox's domain) - You install Chrome..."

      Actually, not any more, you install Opera, which is either as-fast as, or faster (depending on which benchmark you use).

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Downvoting does not make it any less true..

        When will people learn that...

        Seems they just can't face it that Firefox is almost bottom of the pack these days.... It's possible that IE9 will actually be good enough to put it at the bottom of the pack in terms of speed, usability, security and other measures...

    2. CD001



      I have *two* websites that don't work in Opera (and both are because the web dev was too bloody lazy to include it in the list of identified browsers


      Why the hell were the web monkeys using browser recognition (rather than "feature" recognition) anyway?

      The point of Firefox is as a developer tool; it's standards compliant and has some of the best developer extensions available (Web Developer toolbar and ColorZilla, at least, are essential IMO). If you want a web browser for ooooh, I don't know, browsing the web perhaps - yes, you might be better off with Opera (mostly).

      Opera is normally one of the first browsers to implement the latest standards as well - for instance, CSS3 border-radius moved to Candidate Recommendation at the end of last year so, in theory, border-radius: 12px; should work - but currently we have:

      border-radius - the standard as used by Opera (and, I believe, the latest versions of Safari)



      ... and surprise, surprise - there's NO implementation for current versions of Internet Explorer (it's implemented in version 9 apparently).

  15. Rob - Denmark
    Thumb Up

    Seems useful to me

    Why does so many seem to insist, that we should all use our browsers in the same way?

    This seems so much more useful for MY way of browsing, than using new browser window.

    Don't like it, don't use it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's the "User Experience", baby

      Because we don't have any actual content on offer. And it's what you want. We know, even if you don't. Nielsen said so. Honest.

  16. Mike Flugennock

    Y'know that "Shaved Bieber" add-on...?

    You know, that add-on that scrubs any references to Justin Bieber from a Web page?

    Is there any chance that El Reg could commission some programmers to write an add-on that scrubs any references to Opera from the Reg's comments sections?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Here you go...

      It's also interesting to see someone else has written this one.. Essential install too...

      Both work with Bloaty Old Firefix and Most Awesome Opera.

  17. richard 69

    errr.... foxtabs anyone?

    the 3d, windows vista type experience for tabs in firefox.

    quite shocking.

  18. Mike Flugennock

    More press-release patois

    "This release lets you own and control your personal Web experience by syncing your data across devices, and by helping you organize your tabs in order to juggle and prioritize your busy online life,"


    Ouch, my brain just exploded.

    Am I the only one here who's sick of press-release patois which yammers on and on about my "Web experience"? If my online life is "busy", it's because I'm having to fight through all the added bullshit that's supposed to enhance my "Web experience".

    I'm looking for news and information on the Web. I'm not here to have a goddamn' "experience". An "experience" is what I just had for two weeks in South Africa. An "experience" is what I had the first time I took acid and went to see the Grateful Dead. An "experience" is what Jimi Hendrix had. Web development dorks who blab about the "user experience" need a good smacking around, if you ask me.

  19. illiad

    windows organisation?? even OFFICE has it!!!

    go on, load office, a good few docs, and you can play 'cards' any way you like...

    arrange, move round each one, resize it, do the same with another, so you can see how different one is from another, minimize it, so you can then see how the third one compares, (yes, arrange helpfully ignores the minimized one..)

    WHY is it so difficult for FF to do this????

  20. kit
    Thumb Up

    Very Fast

    The hardware acceleration rendering engine is very fast on graphical web pages.

    Well done. Mozilla

    1. Anonymous Coward

      But even on a high end PC

      slower than Opera and Googles SOFTWARE rendering, so not really that well done....

  21. Magius

    No need, TabGroups Manager trumps them all.

    Guys, stop trying to convince one another. People work in different ways, if managing an extensive array of windows on the desktop tickles someone's fancy, more power to them.

    However, I like to keep browsing self-contained to its own space. Using TabGroups Manager lets me assign group tab names, icons so I know what is contained inside each. TGM lets me suspend, close, hybernate, and even export the groups I am working on. At a glance, while using a single Firefox instance, I can see which groups are open and I have access to each one without having to bother resizing, re-ordering, etc. any windows.

    I am not sure if the Mozilla solution will be as good as TGM, seeing as their implementation forces you to fall back into that visual menu to choose groups, but it will worth a try.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      export/import for TGM? HOW-TO please???


      Magius. I saw your posting and I too use TGM. I cannot figure out how to IMPORT and exported tab group to another computer.

      The page for the add-on is partially in Japanese, and there is not info on the EXPORT/IMPORT functions.

  22. John 62

    tab panorama?

    that's a rather high-falutin' name for a tree view of your tabs. I never really used Opera's panels anyway.

    I'm willing to give FF4 a shot. I'm really liking Chrome right now since Opera's been going ever-so-slighty downhill recently. Flash scaling doesn't work properly anymore and it's a bit of a resource hog on my Mac with C2D 2GHz and 2GB RAM (though that's slightly better than the initial 10.6 release crashing _all_ the time)

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